There is not a lot to explain about this chapter title in The Obstacle is the Way. So, I’ll jump to the first quote that jumped out at me further on in the chapter:
For all species other than us humans, things just are what they are. Our problem is that we’re always trying to figure out what things mean–why things are the way they are.
It’s true, and it’s something I think about often. I mean, I tell myself that a deer in the forest isn’t thinking about the looming Monday and returning to work… it’s just feeling safe or unsafe. (To be fair, the deer doesn’t have to go to work on Monday. But also, its chances of dying of old age are worse than mine.)
The basic idea, the way I read this chapter, is to say that we shouldn’t have a programmed future, as that gives us something to measure ourselves against. Are we progressing towards that future? Is this moment the way we told ourselves it would be?
The book doesn’t say this, but I assume that there’s no indication that we shouldn’t make plans, only that we shouldn’t let those plans overwhelm us.
Something I like about this book is that the author, Ryan Holiday, makes some concrete suggestions:
You’ll find the method that works best for you, but there are many thigns that can pul you into the present moment: Strenuous exercise. Unplugging. A walk in the park. Meditation. Getting a dog–they’re a constant reminder of how pleasant the present is.
And, he goes on to provide one more great piece of advice:
On thing is certain. It’s not simply a matter of saying: Oh, I’ll live in the present. You have to work at it. Catch your mind when it wanders. Don’t let it get away from you.
When it’s not easy for me, it’s good to know that it’s not easy for anyone.